The abduction issue in Kerala

P. Sreekumaran

The abduction and alleged rape of a prominent Malayalam film actress by a criminal gang in Kochi and the police failure to nab the prime accused has pushed the LDF Government, already on the mat in a case relating to the death of a BTech student, further on the defensive.
The gang had abducted the actress with the intent of extorting money from her through blackmailing. Three persons have been arrested so far, but the police failure to arrest the main accused has drawn all-round flak. What is adding to the embarrassment of the police department, under the direct control of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, is that the accused, Pulsar Suni, managed to give police the slip twice. The state BJP leaders have gone to the extent of accusing top police officers of helping the main accused to escape.
Predictably, Opposition UDF leaders have blamed the Government for the ‘deteriorating’ law and order situation in the state. The incident has come as a godsend for it to put the Government on the mat.
The CPM, heading the coalition government, has sought to play down the incident with CPM state secretary, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan saying that it was an isolated incident. The law and order situation now is much better than it was during the reign of ther erstwhile UDF Government led by Oommen Chandy, he claimed.
It may be true. But the occurrence of ‘isolated incidents’ with frightening regularity has, no doubt, accentuated the fear psychosis among the people. What has touched off a wave of indignation is the inability of the police to nab the guilty in such incidents. The assault on a woman journalist barely two months ago and the police failure to nab the culprits so far has added to the worry of the people at large, besides putting the government under intense pressure.
Reports have it that the abduction and rape case was not an isolated incident. The key accused in the case had planned the operation abduction nearly a month ago while working in Goa with a film production unit.  Martin, the driver of the actress, who has been arrested, reportedly admitted that the main accused, Suni had offered him ‘due share’ if he cooperated with the abduction plan!
The police are probing the quotation angle as well following the statement made by the actress. She has told the police that the main accused and other members of the gang who had sexually assaulted her inside the car, told her that it was a quotation job and that if she resisted she would be subjected to further harassment at a flat in the city.
Consequently, the police have interrogated a prominent Malayalam film actor and a producer in connection with the Case. There are reports that the actress fell foul of this actor after she allegedly intervened in his personal matters.
Meanwhile, the admission by KB Ganesh Kumar, an actor and a former minister, is on record that the Malayalam film industry is in the grip of a criminal mafia with goodas of leading actors ruling the roost and spreading fear.  The latest incident, he averred, is the direct offshoot of a growing nexus between criminals and the film industry. He has also offered to give the CM specific information regarding the operations of criminals in the film industry.
Most of these criminals are offered jobs as drivers or personal assistants purportedly to use their criminal links to settle scores, it is learnt.  The long association of the main accused Sunil Kumar alias Pulsar Suni with the film industry proves, if proof were needed, of the ‘symbiotic relationship’ between the film personalities and criminals. The police believe that Suni, who had been working as a driver for many leading film personailties, could not have survived so long but for the patronage extended by them.
It is evident that the abduction and rape case is the result of a larger conspiracy involving persons with high stakes in the film industry. This was clear from he number of calls received by the main accused on his mobile number as the crime unfolded.
Whatever the denouement, the incident has exposed the ugly underbelly of the film industry. The Government has its task cut out.  The incident has provided it with an opportunity to reform the industry and rid it of criminal elements. It is a matter of relief that the Government has swung into action right away by preparing a list of over 2000 goodas in the state. The Chief Minister has issued strict instructions to the police that these goodas should be nabbed within a month. It is a matter of prestige and credibility for the Chief Minister, who is in charge of the police, too. (IPA)

Sunday, 26 February, 2017